ASUS Prime Z490-A Review
So far the Z490 range of motherboards has proven how incredibly robust the Intel chipset design is. Everything we have tested so far has fallen within a gnats crotchet of the others, with everything from stock results to the overclocked ones being tight indeed. Naturally we're therefore left wondering if, extra bells and whistles aside, you can get away with spending less but achieving the same solid level of performance. The ASUS Prime Z490-A seems like the perfect candidate.
For the longest time the Prime was our baseline motherboard whenever a new chipset appeared. We knew it was ridiculously consistent and, because it wasn't priced as a flagship model, would be as close to the specification as possible. Models like the Maximus XII Extreme have a huge array of extra bits and bobs to tempt those who are seeking to bust world records or build systems to show off their talents. The Prime though is the meat and potatoes of the motherboard world. All the motherboard you need, and nothing you don't.
Do the results bear out this hope though? There is only one way to find out.
Certainly the Prime might not be part of the famous Republic of Gamers range but it still has a good selection of connectivity options. In fact the only real giveaway that this isn't one of ASUS most expensive motherboards comes when you apply our rule of thumb IO test. The extra spaces on the backplate that are full on the ASUS offerings we've reviewed so far give the game away a little, although you're still not exactly short of ports.